My birthday was last Sunday. No big party this year; only close friends and family. But I cherish these moments the most.
“Birthday” was the spark for this post. Yet – nothing obvious – no cake stands or paper hats today. Instead, à rebours, I’ve found my inspiration in literary/cinematic birthday parties that did not go as planned.
Stephen Daldry’s The hours (2003) is based on Michael Cunningham’s novel under the same title (1998). It brilliantly resources Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925). You can read my post about this wonderful novel here.
The movie, starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore, has a triple narrative plot. Nicole Kidman is Virginia Woolf writing one of her biggest novels, Julianne Moore’s character, Laura Brown, is a 1950s’ housewife who is reading Mrs. Dalloway, and Meryl Streep is Clarissa Vaughan, who somehow reenacts Mrs. Dalloway in contemporary New York City.
All the timelines refer to some parties (Laura is preparing a birthday cake for her husband Dan). All of the women are pushing themselves to the limits to make their lives look better than they actually are. There is some underlying sadness in this movie and mental breakdowns in the spotlight. I highly recommend this film – it’s very touching and a visual masterpiece (cinematography by Seamus McGarvey).
As three parallel parties are being prepared, a lot of cooking and baking is going on there. My direct inspiration was Virginia Woolf’s kitchen, which, in my humble opinion, could be copied into contemporary houses in the following manner:
White subway tiles, plain wood, copper, ironware, milk glass, big stoves, flowers, fresh fruit – this is what I would go for.
About a week ago, I came across a stunning Instagram account that bears the same sense of serenity and simplicity. Here are a few photographs taken by Karen who lives in a house by the sea in Long Island, NY. If you want to see more of feather.and.field (trust me, you do) – click here.
And here is some more inspiration:
All of the above finds via RueVertdegris
All of you who seek it or lost it – I wish you peace, serenity, simplicity and beauty in your lives.
Have a wonderful day.